After a year of eating my way through grief I met with Sandra from Banhus in December 2014 …
Nutrition – we all know what we should be doing but why aren’t we doing it?
We all know what makes us lose weight – eating less calories than we burn off, right? And we all know how to do this, we can just simply eat less, we can move more or we can do both. So why is it so hard to change this knowledge into action?
We have become a society that expects results fast. Patience is fast becoming a lost art as why wait when we can get same day delivery, buy now pay later, drop 10lbs in 3 days. You are not alone in wanting a quick fix to your weight issues. We are bombarded with rapid weight loss diets which pander to our instant gratification desires. We all also know that rapid weight loss very rarely leads to long term healthy weight management and often leads to ending in a worse situation than when we started.
So where do you start? Being realistic about what to expect is a good place. If you go for a quick fix solution then you must expect a quick un-fix at the end. You have a holiday in 3 weeks and want to lose a stone before you go so you try a quick fix diet and reach your goal. Well done, you have achieved your desire. Now you know what you need to do every time you need to lose a stone in 3 weeks. This is a specific pattern of behaviour (the yo-yo dieter) that yields short term results but has to be repeated over and over again. Continuous weight loss and gain is not the healthiest choice for your body as the adaptations your body will need to make to support any extra weight and then a rapid decrease in weight including muscle (another “we all know” we lose muscle as well as fat unless doing some form of resistance training) can affect joint stability as well as putting extra strain on your organs.
Wouldn’t it be nice, and a relief for your body, to eat continuously in a way that still achieves your goal but doesn’t require repeatedly drastic shifts in eating patterns?
I used the word behaviour before and this is the key to success, to the golden chalice of maintaining a healthy eating plan. Let’s go back to the start – why can’t you put your knowledge into action? You tried, you failed, you tried, you failed. There is no consistency but did you really expect to change your eating habits of the last how ever many years in just 3 weeks? Expectations need to be realistic. Don’t give yourself 3 weeks, give yourself 6 months or even a year. Give yourself a fighting chance of changing your behaviour.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with huge changes all at once. Start small. Eat breakfast if you don’t already. Walk up and down the stairs 5 times before you go to bed each night. These small achievable daily goals will not send you into a frenzy of buying new gym kit or the latest smoothie maker but will begin to make a difference. Once you get to the stage where you don’t even have to think about eating breakfast or the stairs because you just do it automatically as your daily routine then add in something else like not eating crisps from Monday to Friday. Patience is crucial if you are serious about making long term changes to improve your health.
We also need to appreciate that we are all different. We look different, we have our own feelings and thoughts and we respond differently including to food. We all know (there I go again!) that we should eat less refined carbohydrates, but do you know how much less? Your friend eats 50 grams of carbs per day and maintains a steady 1-2% body fat reduction per month (that could take them from 35% body fat to 22% in just one year!) but would that have exactly the same effect on you? Probably not. You may lose more, you may lose less but you find out where YOU need to be.
It takes time to find the right proportion of macro nutrients to make up your daily calorie intake but once you get there, and this can be done with small changes to your existing food choices, you have the power to control and finally manage your own weight long term. Instead of rapid gains and loss you just tweak. Put on a few pounds on holiday? No problem, you can still eat the same food but vary the proportions with no need to go on a drastic plan.
Be realistic with your expectations and our goals will become achievable.